Colleagues laud wildlife officer's quick thinking

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC-TV) - A deadly shooting rampage in West Memphis may have turned out worse if an Arkansas Fish and Game wildlife officer hadn't risked his own life to save others.

"I'm very much looking forward to meeting in person the Game and Fish officer, Officer Neal," Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.

McDaniel was referring to wildlife officer Michael Neal.  Neal was behind the wheel of the truck that slammed into a minivan occupied by two suspects who had just shot and killed two West Memphis police officers.

Friday, McDaniel said his colleagues believe Neal's bravery likely put a stop to a hail of gunfire that had already wounded Crittenden County Sheriff Dick Busby and his deputy chief, W.A. Wren.  

"The sheriff said there's no question but that he saved their live," McDaniel said.

McDaniel himself visited Busby and Wren at The MED Friday afternoon.

"It was great to see my friend Sheriff Busby, and he seemed to be in great spirits," he said.

McDaniel's next stop will be to thank Michael Neal in person.

"When I spoke to officer Neal on the phone earlier, he said what most heroes say, which is, 'I was just doing my job,'" he said.

But McDaniel says everyone involved in Thursday's deadly day in West Memphis agrees Michael Neal is a hero.

"He saved the lives of the chief and the sheriff and did so by putting his own life at risk and putting himself in harm's way," McDaniel said.

McDaniel called Thursday's incident shocking, infuriating and heartbreaking.  He said the residents of West Memphis deserve answers, and they will get them.